Homemade Fish Balls (鱼丸)

Learn how to make this incredibly versatile fish ball recipe right at home!

Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
60 min
Yields
4 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

This fish ball recipe was originally part of our longer series on doing Hot Pot at Home, and I felt like it deserved its own blog post, so here we are.

If you're new to fish balls, this is an extremely popular type of recipe with a ton of different names and variations throughout Asia and parts of Europe.

The foundation of this recipe is essentially creating a great fish paste. From there, usually, you'll find these rolled up into balls, which you can deep fry and lather in sauce, or boil them in soups or hot pots. Instead of rolling them into balls, you can also flatten them into patties and pan-fry them, which my dad does quite often.

Most Asian grocery stores sell pre-made fishballs, but this is a great way to customize your own healthy version at home.

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
4
    Main Ingredients
  • 8 oz tilapia fish fillets
  • 2 oz shrimp (

    size 31-35

    )
  • Fish Ball Flavors (default for ~10 oz of fish/shrimp)
  • 4 pieces cilantro
  • 4 pieces green onion
  • ginger (

    3-4 thin slices, minced

    )
  • dried mandarin orange peel (

    rehydrated, use about 1 square inch

    )
  • 0.50 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Buying fish from sustainable sources

It’s important to at least be aware of how we can support sustainable methods and sources of fish.

While it might not always be feasible to shop in this way, as consumers, an easy way to do our part is by making sure we vote with our wallets.

Monterey Bay Aquarium in California runs a free website called “Seafood Watch” which has a ton of recommendations on how to choose and purchase seafood in ways that have the least environmental impact.

Finding Asian Ingredients

Some of these ingredients are hard to find in a typical grocery store.

If you don't live near an Asian market, most or all of what my dad uses in this recipe can be found on Amazon:

I've also included some other Chinese kitchen essentials, used in many of my dad's other recipes.

These links are affiliate links, which means that if you use our links to purchase these ingredients, Amazon pays my family a small amount for the sale - at no extra cost to you. If you use these links, we really appreciate the support!

We'll start by finely mincing our tilapia (2 oz). Beat it down with the blunt edge of our knife to flatten it. Repeat this 1-2 more times to tenderize the fish. We want this to be as tender and paste-like as possible.

The actual amount and type of fish are up to you! My dad just used tilapia because it was readily available at the time.

If you have a food processor, feel free to use it!

Just like our fish, we'll finely mince our shrimp (0.20 oz).

Beat it down with the blunt edge of our knife to flatten it. Repeat this 1-2 more times to tenderize the shrimp. We want this to be as tender and paste-like as possible.

As with the fish, the actual amount and type of shrimp are up to you! You can also just make this with shrimp, or skip the shrimp entirely.

With the blunt side of our knife, spatula, paddle, etc, we'll mix the tilapia and shrimp together, and flatten it. Make sure to do this thoroughly.

We'll finely chop some cilantro (4 pieces), green onion (4 pieces).

We'll also be mincing about 1 square inch of a rehydrated dried orange peel, and 3-4 slices of ginger.

Mix salt (1 tsp), sugar (1 tsp), white pepper (0.50 tsp), chicken bouillon (1 tsp), egg (1), cornstarch (3 tbsp) in a bowl.

Add the fish paste and greens to the bowl, and mix thoroughly for 2-3 minutes.

Add sesame oil (1 tsp), olive oil (1 tsp), mix for another 30-60 seconds.

This is a traditional technique - we'll take clumps of fish paste and slam it down on the bowl.

This helps increase the pliability of the fish paste.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

When it comes time to eat, we have a bunch of options:

  • Hot pot style: Scoop up a ball of fish paste with a spoon, and then dunk it in the hot pot. It will be ready to eat in a little under a minute - soft, chewy, tender goodness and all.
  • Deep fry: Heat up a high smoke point oil (like corn oil) and deep fry the fish balls for ~1 minute at 175C, 350F. Dip in your favorite sauce
  • Sauté: Flatten the fish balls into little patties, and pan-fry each side for 2-3 minutes.

Summary

Homemade Fish Balls (鱼丸)
Learn how to make this incredibly versatile fish ball recipe right at home!
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 60 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
    Main Ingredients
  • 8 oz tilapia fish fillets
  • 2 oz shrimp (

    size 31-35

    )
  • Fish Ball Flavors (default for ~10 oz of fish/shrimp)
  • 4 pieces cilantro
  • 4 pieces green onion
  • ginger (

    3-4 thin slices, minced

    )
  • dried mandarin orange peel (

    rehydrated, use about 1 square inch

    )
  • 0.50 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil
Step 1 - Cut, mince, flatten fish↑ Jump to details

We'll start by finely mincing our tilapia (2 oz). Beat it down with the blunt edge of our knife to flatten it. Repeat this 1-2 more times to tenderize the fish. We want this to be as tender and paste-like as possible.

The actual amount and type of fish are up to you! My dad just used tilapia because it was readily available at the time.

Step 2 - Cut, mince, flatten shrimp↑ Jump to details

Just like our fish, we'll finely mince our shrimp (0.20 oz).

Beat it down with the blunt edge of our knife to flatten it. Repeat this 1-2 more times to tenderize the shrimp. We want this to be as tender and paste-like as possible.

As with the fish, the actual amount and type of shrimp are up to you! You can also just make this with shrimp, or skip the shrimp entirely.

Step 3 - Mix fish & shrimp↑ Jump to details

With the blunt side of our knife, spatula, paddle, etc, we'll mix the tilapia and shrimp together, and flatten it. Make sure to do this thoroughly.

Step 4 - Chop greens, ginger, orange peel↑ Jump to details

We'll finely chop some cilantro (4 pieces), green onion (4 pieces).

We'll also be mincing about 1 square inch of a rehydrated dried orange peel, and 3-4 slices of ginger.

Step 5 - Create flavors↑ Jump to details

Mix salt (1 tsp), sugar (1 tsp), white pepper (0.50 tsp), chicken bouillon (1 tsp), egg (1), cornstarch (3 tbsp) in a bowl.

Step 6 - Mix everything together, add oils↑ Jump to details

Add the fish paste and greens to the bowl, and mix thoroughly for 2-3 minutes.

Add sesame oil (1 tsp), olive oil (1 tsp), mix for another 30-60 seconds.

Step 7 - Slam the fish paste↑ Jump to details

This is a traditional technique - we'll take clumps of fish paste and slam it down on the bowl.

This helps increase the pliability of the fish paste.

Step 8 - Refrigerate & cook↑ Jump to details

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

When it comes time to eat, we have a bunch of options:

  • Hot pot style: Scoop up a ball of fish paste with a spoon, and then dunk it in the hot pot. It will be ready to eat in a little under a minute - soft, chewy, tender goodness and all.
  • Deep fry: Heat up a high smoke point oil (like corn oil) and deep fry the fish balls for ~1 minute at 175C, 350F. Dip in your favorite sauce
  • Sauté: Flatten the fish balls into little patties, and pan-fry each side for 2-3 minutes.
Step 9 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 10 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

I have so many memories of eating this with my family.

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this tradition with your loved ones.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.

Watch on YouTube

About Made With Lau

We started Made With Lau to honor and share the legacy of our wonderful parents, Jenny and Chung Sun Lau.

Our hope is that these posts give you (and our future generations) a glimpse into how great they are!